Warren loudest Powell critic on Capitol Hill

by Jacob Fuller

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News

For all of the complaints conservatives have about Jerome Powell, it’s Massachusetts progressive Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren who has emerged as the staunchest opponent of the chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Sunday, Warren made appearances on shows like CBS’s “Face the Nation” and ABC’s “This Week,” and attacked Powell at every stop. But it was social media where the senator landed what will likely be her most memorable rhetorical blow.

“Fed Chair Jerome Powell took a flamethrower to banking regulations and contributed to the collapses of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank,” Warren tweeted. “We’ve got to tighten up the rules and toughen up oversight to prevent more bank failures. I’m staying in the fight to get it done.”

As her tweet suggests, Warren has been moved to anger by the failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in recent days, a phenomenon Warren pinned on both former President Donald Trump and Powell, but, interestingly, not on President Joe Biden.

“Donald Trump … ran for president promising he would ease up on the regulations on these multi-billion banks,” Warren said during her ABC appearance. “He then was elected president and he put in a lot of regulators who eased up on banking regulations.”

On CBS, Warren called for “accountability for our regulators who clearly fell down on the job” and pointed specifically to Powell, who she referred to as “a dangerous man to have in this position.”

It is important to note that Warren is, on this topic, quite consistent. She has never been a fan of Powell and was one of just seven liberals in the senate to vote no on Powell’s confirmation in 2022. The no vote was mostly ceremonial as 80 senators, a truly bipartisan group, voted to re-appoint Powell to his position.

Warren, however, is being quite selective in how she frames her anger. While Trump is an easy target for anyone on the left and Powell is fair game to both parties, Warren chose not to lump the current president in with the other targets of her ire, even though Biden had the opportunity to replace Powell last year and chose to retain him.

Republicans have been quick to pick up the slack, labeling the Biden administration as having been slow and ineffective in response to the failures of Silicon Valley and Signature banks.

“Silicon Valley Bank managers should have hedged risk. Biden’s regulators should have seen the risk rising and corrected it,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) tweeted last week. “Biden’s admin should have helped set up a merger instead of dragging feet. Now Middle America is on the hook for a bailout that didn’t have to happen.”

The great irony is that Republicans and Democrats are largely in agreement on this issue. Both believe the failed banks were cavalier in their operations and that federal regulators were lax in their oversight.

“[The] Federal Reserve Bank and Jerome Powell are ultimately responsible for the oversight and supervision of these banks,” Warren said on CBS. “And they have made clear that they think their job is to lighten regulations on these banks. We’ve now seen the consequences.”

Truly, the only difference of opinion between the two major parties is which president should shoulder the blame with Powell.